Thursday, September 30, 2010
On Sunday - the 20th anniversary of East and West Germany unifying about a year after the Berlin Wall fell - Deutschland will make the last in a series of reparation payments that has spanned more than nine decades.
The final payment is £59.5 million, about $93.8 million, reported London's Telegraph newspaper. Germany had to pay Belgium and France for material damages and the rest of the Allies the costs of fighting the war.
Germany went bankrupt in the 1920s, Der Spiegel explained, and issued bonds between 1924 and 1930 to pay off the towering debt laid on it by the Allied powers in 1919's Treaty of Versailles.
A Lithuanian man is being accused in court of sending two women to eastern Siberia in 1949, the Prosecutor's Office of Lithuania said on Thursday.
The man, who worked for the Soviet authorities, is thought to have removed two sisters from their country estate in Lithuania and handed them over to the local KGB, who put them on a train to the Irkutsk region in eastern Siberia.
"The sisters remained in exile until 1958," a spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office said.
The man refuses to admit his guilt, despite evidence showing that he and other officials deported Lithuanian citizens in the spring of 1949.
"This is the third case involving crimes against humanity to be handed over to the regional court in the past few years," Prosecutor General Darius Valys said. "Our prosecutors work hard to restore historic justice, which has no statute limitations".
Millions of people were deported to remote areas of the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s. Many died of starvation, disease or exposure in Gulag labor camps.
Astronomers have detected an Earth-like exoplanet that may have just the right kind of conditions to support life.
Gliese 581g lies some 20 light-years away in its star's "Goldilocks zone" - a region surface temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water.
Scientists say that the newly found world could also potentially have an atmosphere.
Their findings, made with the Keck telescope in Hawaii, appear in the Astrophysical Journal.
The researchers, from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, have been studying the movement of the planet's parent star, a red dwarf called Gliese 581, for 11 years.
Their observations have revealed a number of exoplanets spinning around the star.Possibility of life
Recently they discovered two new alien worlds, so together with the previous findings, this brings the number of planets orbiting Gliese 581 to six.
But the most important new revelation is that one of those worlds might be the most Earth-like planet yet identified.
"Our findings offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet," said Steven Vogt, an astronomer at UCSC.
"The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common".
Gliese 581g has a mass about three to four times that of Earth. It orbits its sun in 37 days and is thought to be a rocky world. It has enough gravity to possibly have an atmosphere.
A New Jersey college student has leapt to his death a day after authorities said two students secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast it over the internet.
Tyler Clementi's wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge on 22 September after two witnesses saw someone jump from the structure, authorities told the AP news agency.
Mr Clementi's body has not been found.
Two students have been charged with illegally filming the 18-year-old.
"Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words," Paul Mainardi, a lawyer for Mr Clementi's family, said in a statement confirming the suicide.
A ban on wearing the full Islamic veil in the Netherlands will be part of the government's programme under a pact to form a coalition, party leaders say.
The Liberals and Christian Democrats have had to make concessions to anti-Islamist Geert Wilders to gain his support for their minority coalition.
The deal ends months of deadlock but still needs to be ratified by Christian Democrats in a meeting on Saturday.
The pact includes plans for budget cuts of 18bn euros ($24bn; £15bn) by 2015.
It also tightens rules on immigration and boosts the number of police officers.
The Liberal party (VVD) and the Christian Democrats (CDA) have 52 seats between them in the 150-seat parliament and propose to form a minority government. They would rely on the Freedom Party's 24 seats to pass legislation by a tiny margin.